Botanical Survey of India | Flora of India

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Trees, shrubs or herbs, monoecious, glabrous or with simple hairs; branching unspecialized with spiral on distichous phyllotaxy, or phyllanthoid with leaves on main axes reduced to cataphylls, subtending deciduous branchlets with distichous leaves. Leaves variable, simple, symmetric or sometimes asymmetric, entire, penninerved, short-petioled; stipules varied, entire to fimbriate, sometimes scarious along margins, often peltate, rarely hardening and becoming spinescent on older branches. Inflorescences usually axillary, fasciculate or solitary, unisexual or bisexual, sometimes flowers in racemes on panicles; bracteoles 2 per flower, entire to fimbriate and often scarious along margins, often peltate. Male flowers: sepals 3 + 2 or 3 or sometimes 2 + 2, free, imbricate, entire to fimbriate and often white on scarious along margins; petals absent; disc glands of various shapes and sizes; stamens 3 - 6; filaments free or connate; anthers 2- loculed, free or occasionally connate, vertically or transversely dehiscent; pistillode absent. Female flowers: pedicellate or occasionally subsessile; sepals 3 + 2 or 3, as in male, occasionally accrescent; petals absent; disc cupular-annular or flat, entire, crenate or lobed or divided into segments; ovary usually 3-locular, in a few species 4 - 12-locular; locules biovulate; ovules anatropous or amphitropous; styles 3, short, free or shortly connate, bifid. Fruits mostly dehiscent capsules, occasionally baccate or drupaceous; cocci crustaceous, mostly 3, bivalved, separating from a persistent columella; seeds 2 per locule, trigonous; testa smooth or sculptured, exarillate; endosperms cartilaginous; embryo straight or slightly curved; cotyledons usually broader than the radicle.

A large and very diverse genus of 750 - 850 species, widespread in tropical and subtropical regions around the world; 51 species in India.

Literature. CHAUDHARY, L. B. & R. R. RAO (2002). Taxonomic study of herbaceous species of Phyllanthus L. (Euphorbiaceae) in India. Phytotaxonomy 2: 143 – 162. GANGOPADHYAY, M., T. CHAKRABARTY & N. P. BALAKRISHNAN (2004). On the status of Phyllanthus airyshawii and P. kozhikodensis (Euphorbiaceae). J. Econ. Taxon Bot. 28: 585 – 590. 2004 (2005). MITRA, R. L. & M. SANJAPPA (2003). Phyllanthus parvifolius, P. clarkei (Euphorbiaceae) and related Indian taxa. Bull. Bot. Surv. India 45: 1 – 20, ff. 1 – 4. 2003 (2004). WEBSTER, G. L. (1956 - 1958). A monographic study of the West Indian species of Phyllanthus. J. Arnold Arbor. 37: 91 - 122, 217 - 268, 340 - 359; 38: 51 - 80, 170 - 198, 295 - 373; 39: 49 - 100, 111 - 212.



KEY TO THE SPECIES


1 a. Herbs, shrubs or trees; branching not phyllanthoid; leaves on main stems spiral or distichous, not reduced to scales; stamens 3; filaments shortly connate for short length or free; anthers dehiscing horizontally; styles bifid 3. Isocladus
b. Shrubs, herbs or trees; branching phyllanthoid, if not then plants shrubby; leaves on main stems spirally arranged, leaves on deciduous branchlets distichous; stamens 2 - 15; filaments connate for greater part; anthers dehiscing longitudinally or horizontally; styles entire or bifid 2 2
2 a. Woody shrubs; sepals 4 in male, 6 in female, toothed, lacerate or fimbriate, rarely subentire; stamens 2 or 3; filaments usually connate; pollen grains globose, porate; fruits capsular, dry or somewhat fleshy 2. Eriococcus
b. Herbs, woody herbs or trees; sepals 5 or 6 in both male and female, entire, not lacerate nor fimbriate; male sepals 5 or 6; stamens 2 - 15; filaments free or connate; pollen grains not porate, areolate, colporate, striate or foveolate; fruits various 3
3 a. Stamens 2 - 15, free or more commonly united; pollen grains globose, areolate; carpels 3; fruits 6-seeded 6. Xylophylla
b. Stamens 2 - 6; pollen grains colporate, striate or foveolate; carpels 3 or 4; fruits 6 or 8-seeded 4
4 a. Stamens 5 or 6; anthers elongate; pollen grains tricolporate; carpels 3 - 10; fruits baccate, 3-or 8 - 16-seeded 4. Kirganelia
b. Stamens 2 - 4; anthers short; pollen grains colporate, striate or foveolate; carpels 3 or 4; fruits 6-seeded 5
5 a. Trees with drupaceous or pithy fruits; pollen grains colporate; carpels 3 or 4 1. Cicca
b. Herbs or low woody shrubs with capsular fruits; pollen grains colporate, striate or foveolate; carpels 3 5. Phyllanthus

KEY TO THE SPECIES

0
1 a. Fruits more or less fleshy, drupaceous or baccate 2
b. Fruits dry dehiscent, capsular 6
2 a. Fruit a berry, 3.5 - 10 mm in diam. 3
b. Fruit a drupe, 1 - 3 cm in diam. 4
3 a. Stamens of inner whorl connate at base; female pedicels filiform; styles 5 – 10 (-12), up to 0.5 mm long, triangular, free on very shortly connate at base; berries 5 – 10 (- 12)-locular 35. Phyllanthus reticulatus
b. Stamens all free; female pedicels thickened upwards; styles 3, 2 - 2.5 mm long, connate below into a column (0.5 - 1 mm long), bifid above; berries 3-locular 33. Phyllanthus glaucus
4 a. Leaves ovate, oblong to elliptic, 3 - 9 x 1.5 - 4 cm, distantly distichous; sepals 4; stamens 4; filaments free 1. Phyllanthus acidus
b. Leaves linear-oblong to narrowly oblong-elliptic, 3 - 22 x 1 - 7.5 mm, closely distichous; sepals 6; stamens 3; filaments connate into a column 5
5 a. Leaves usually 100 or more pairs per branchlet, closely distichous and often over lapping, linear-oblong, 3 - 20 x 1 - 5 mm; petioles 0.4 - 1 mm long 2. Phyllanthus emblica
b. Leaves up to 50 pairs per branchlet, not closely distichous, not overlapping, only touching each other, oblong, oblong-elliptic to linear-oblong, 10 - 25 x 2 - 10 mm; petioles 1 - 3 mm long 3. Phyllanthus indofischeri
6 a. Leaves arising singly and 2 - 3-together at the same axil 27. Phyllanthus myrtifolius
b. Leaves always arising singly at leaf-axils 7
7 a. Annual herbs 8
b. Perennial undershrubs, shrubs or trees 20
8 a. Leaves white hispidulous beneath along margins; female flowers subsessile; fruits tuberculate on up to 0.5 mm long pedicels 51. Phyllanthus urinaria
b. Leaves beneath glabrous or at least not white hispidulous along margins; female flowers pedicellate; fruits smooth, on more than 1 mm long pedicels 9
9 a. Proximal leaves of leaf-bearing branchlets double the size of the distal leaves 37. Phyllanthus airyshawii
b. All leaves of branchlets more or less of the same size 0
10 a. Venation of leaves immersed; plants occurring mostly on sandy beaches 49. Phyllanthus rotundifolius
b. Venation of leaves (at least lateral nerves) visible at least on the under surface; plants not strandline 11
11 a. Cymules mostly (90%) consisting of one male and one female flowers 39. Phyllanthus amarus
b. Cymules otherwise 12
12 a. Stipules peltate, cordate or sagittate at base 13
b. Stipules neither peltate nor cordate or sagittate at base 15
13 a. Anthers connate into a subglobose mass, vertically dehiscent; ovary and fruits smooth 26. Phyllanthus maderaspatensis
b. Anthers free, transversely dehiscent; ovary and fruits verrucose or muriculate 14
14 a. Leaves 5 - 10 mm long, thickened along margins; male flowers subsessile; female pedicels 1.5 - 3 mm long; fruiting pedicels 3 - 4 mm long 28. Phyllanthus narayanswamii
b. Leaves 6 - 25 mm long, flat along margins; male pedicels 1.5 - 3 mm long; female pedicels (2.5 -) 4 - 10 mm long; fruiting pedicels 5 - 15 mm long 32. Phyllanthus simplex
15 a. Sepals 5; stamens 5 16
b. Sepals 6; stamens 3 17
16 a. Herbs, becoming shrubby, up to 45 cm high; cataphylls present; stipules linear to triangular lanceolate, entire, unlobed; leaves elliptic to oblong-elliptic, lateral veins distinct and raised on both surfaces; female disc annular, entire, fleshy 36. Phyllanthus tenellus
b. Herbs, up to 10 cm high; cataphylls absent; stipules linear-lanceolate, often lobed or laciniate at basal portion; leaves spathulate or obovate, lateral veins not visible; female disc of 5 distinct rectangular or tongue-shaped glands 38. Phyllanthus ajmerianus
17 a. Leaves scabridulous with white hairs on lower surface; venation distinct on the upper surface; stipules serrate 31. Phyllanthus scabrifolius
b. Leaves not scabridulous nor white hairy beneath; venation inconspicuous on the upper surface; stipules entire 18
18 a. Female disc crenate or shallowly lobed; leaves usually narrowed at apex to a point; anther- thecae dehiscing horizontally or obliquely 42. Phyllanthus debilis
b. Female disc deeply dissected; leaves rounded, obtuse, apiculate or subacute at apex; antherthecae dehiscing vertically 19
19 a. Branchlets usually scabrid-hispidulous at the angles; petioles 0.4 - 1 mm long; stipules 0.4 - 1 mm long; bracts up to 1 mm long; filaments united into a column 43. Phyllanthus fraternus
b. Branchlets glabrous; petioles 1 - 1.5 mm long; stipules 1 - 2 mm long; bracts 1 - 2 mm long; filaments free at least halfway above 30. Phyllanthus rheedei
20 a. Sepals in male flowers 4 (Eriococcus) 21
b. Sepals in male flowers 5 - 6 37
21 a. Fruits enclosed by the enlarged calyx 12. Phyllanthus macrocalyx
b. Fruits not enclosed by the enlarged calyx 22
22 a. Branchlets leafless or with suppressed leaves along the upper portion 23
b. Branchlets with normal leaves at upper portion 26
23 a. Branchlets and often nerves on leaves beneath pubescent 24
b. Plants entirely glabrous 25
24 a. Leaves 1 - 3 x 0.5 - 1.3 cm, chartaceous to thinly coriaceous, glabrous; lateral nerves 5 or 6 pairs; petioles ca 1 mm long; male cymules 1-flowered; filaments almost free; fruits glabrous 14. Phyllanthus pulcher
b. Leaves 2 - 5 x 1 - 3 cm, membranous to thinly chartaceous, mostly pilose beneath on nerves; lateral nerves 6 - 11 pairs; petioles 1.5 - 3 mm long; male cymules 3 - 5- flowered; filaments united into a column; fruits evanescently papillose-puberulous 16. Phyllanthus sikkimensis
25 a. Apices of branchlets leafless; leaves acute to attenuate-mucronate at apex, often marbled with white, purple or brown along veins; stipules epeltate; male sepals entire; disc 2-lobed, fleshy; fruits 6 - 8 mm in diam. 4. Phyllanthus baillonianus
b. Apices of branchlets with suppressed leaves; leaves apiculate at apex, not marbled; stipules peltate; male sepals lanceolate; disc of 4 distinct glands; fruits ca 10 mm in diam. 9. Phyllanthus gageanus
26 a. Leaves 3 - 12 cm long 27
b. Leaves 0.5 - 3 cm long 31
27 a. Branchlets tomentellous 28
b. Plants entirely glabrous 29
28 a. Leaves acute, subacute or shortly acuminate (acumen up to 5 mm long) at apex; female cymules pedunculate, fasciculate; female and fruiting pedicels 10 - 15 mm long; fruits 4 - 6 mm in diam. 19. Phyllanthus tetrandrus
b. Leaves usually acuminate or caudate (acumen on cauda 10 - 20 mm long) at apex; female cymules epedunculate, 1-flowered; female and fruiting pedicels 2 - 7 mm long; fruits 8 - 20 mm in diam. 10. Phyllanthus gomphocarpus
29 a. Sepals all entire; male pedicels 10 - 12 mm long 5. Phyllanthus beddomei
b. Sepals (at least in male flowers) fimbriate or denticulate; male pedicels up to 5 mm long 30
30 a. Leaves chartaceous to thinly coriaceous; fruits ca 0.6 cm in diam 8. Phyllanthus fimbriatus
b. Leaves membranous; fruits 2 - 3 cm in diam. 13. Phyllanthus megacarpus
31 a. Leaf bearing branchlets arising in fascicles of 3 - 5; leaves linear-oblong to narrowly oblong 18. Phyllanthus talbotii
b. Leaf bearing branchlets arising singly; leaves otherwise 32
32 a. Fruits villous 33
b. Fruits glabrous 34
33 a. Leaves 0.5 - 1 cm long; male cymules 1-flowered; anthers subsessile; female and fruiting pedicels up to 10 mm long 6. Phyllanthus chandrabosei
b. Leaves 1 - 2.7 cm long; male cymules 2 or 3-flowered; anthers on ca 1 mm long column; female and fruiting pedicels 10 - 20 mm long 7. Phyllanthus cinereus
34 a. Lateral nerves of leaves immersed or faint; nervules hidden; stipules peltate, hastate at base 35
b. Lateral nerves and nervules of leaves visible at least on the under surface; stipules epeltate, not hastate at base 36
35 a. Phyllanthoid branches crowded towards tip of stem; lateral nerves of leaves hidden; sepals lacerate; bracts lacerate to denticulate 17. Phyllanthus singampattianus
b. Phyllanthoid branches scattered along the stem; lateral nerves of leaves faint; sepals entire to undulate; bracts entire 15. Phyllanthus rangachariarii
36 a. Branchlets rufous tomentellous to scattered whitish puberulous or pilose; lateral nerves of leaves 5 or 6 pairs, arising at 35° to 45° angles with the midrib; filaments ca 0.3 mm long, almost free; fruits without a stipe 14. Phyllanthus pulcher
b. Branchlets glabrous; lateral nerves of leaves 6 - 11 pairs, arising at 45° to 70° angles with the midrib; filaments ca 1 mm long, connate into a column; fruits shortly stipitate 11. Phyllanthus heyneanus
37 a. Branchlets leafless and bearing dense-flowered fascicles at apical portion; staminal column long, slender, exserted; stylar column stout, exserted 38
b. Branchlets with normal leaves at apical portion 39
38 a. Shrubs or small trees, 2 – 3 m tall; leaf-bearing branchlets 5 – 17 cm long, glabrous; petioles glabrous; pseudoracemes 1 – 5 cm long; fruiting pedicels 3 – 4 mm long 21. Phyllanthus andamanicus
b. Trees 3 – 12 m tall; leaf-bearing branchlets 15 – 60 cm long, rufous tomentellous; petioles rusty tomentellous; pseudoracemes 10 – 20 cm long; fruiting pedicels 5 – 10 mm long 23. Phyllanthus columnaris
39 a. Inflorescences ramiflorous, glomerulate; seeds hollow at the hilum 34. Phyllanthus pinnatus
b. Inflorescences axillary, fasciculate or solitary or flowers in axillary or supra-axillary racemes or spikes 40
40 a. Flowers in axillary or supra-axillary racemes and spikes 22. Phyllanthus baeobotryoides
b. Flowers in axillary fascicles or solitary 41
41 a. Stipules peltate 42
b. Stipules epeltate 46
42 a. Leaves scattered reddish brown hirsute on the lower surface 25. Phyllanthus macraei
b. Leaves glabrous on the lower surface 43
43 a. Male pedicels ca 15 mm long; sepals recurved; filaments 2 - 3.5 mm long, united below (for 3/4th length) into a slender column 44. Phyllanthus griffithii
b. Male pedicels 1.5 - 3 mm long; sepals erect or spreading; filaments up to 0.8 mm long, free or shortly connate below into a column 44
44 a. Female and fruiting pedicels 15 - 30 mm long, filiform 25. Phyllanthus macraei
b. Female and fruiting pedicels 5 - 12 mm long 45
45 a. Leaves usually obovate, rounded or subobtuse at apex, membranous to chartaceous; flowers arising on short pulvini; fruits 3 - 3.5 mm in diam. 46. Phyllanthus praetervisus
b. Leaves narrowly oblong, elliptic to ovate-elliptic, apiculate or acute-mucronate at apex, coriaceous to chartaceous; flowers arising amidst tufts of bracts, often forming short brachyblasts; fruits 2 - 2.5 mm in diam. 48. Phyllanthus roeperianus
46 a. Leaves 3.5 - 9 cm long 20. Phyllanthus anamalayanus
b. Leaves 0.2 - 3.5 cm long 47
47 a. Stipules on main branches hardening and becoming spiniform 48
b. Stipules on main branches not modified into spines, or if spiniform then deciduous 49
48 a. Stipular spines persistent; leaves oblong, elliptic-oblong to linear-oblong, 2 – 8 x 1 - 3 mm, stiff chartaceous; filaments connate into a column to about the middle; styles ca 1.5 mm long, united below into a column; fruiting pedicels up to 1.5 mm long 24. Phyllanthus lawii
b. Stipular spines deciduous; leaves obovate (or narrowly so) obovate-elliptic to obovate- oblong 4 - 15 x 2 - 7 mm, membranous; filaments free; styles 0.5 - 1 mm long, free; fruiting pedicels 2 - 6 mm long 47. Phyllanthus pseudoparvifolius
49 a. Leaves linear-oblong to narrowly oblong, usually slightly constricted at the middle; nervules very prominent on the under surface 29. Phyllanthus polyphyllus
b. Leaves obovate, elliptic to oblong, not constricted at the middle; nervules obscure or less conspicuous on the under surface 50
50 a. Petioles 0.2 - 1 mm long 51
b. Petioles 1 - 2.5 mm long 52
51 a. Branchlets scaberulous at angles; leaves membranous to firmly chartaceous, rounded, truncate, retuse or apiculate at apex; lateral nerves prominent to very prominent on the under surface; petioles 0.5 - 1 mm long; styles free 41. Phyllanthus clarkei
b. Branchlets glabrous; leaves coriaceous, obtuse-mucronate at apex; lateral nerves faint on the under surface; petioles 0.2 - 0.4 mm long; styles connate below into a column 50. Phyllanthus sanjappae
52 a. Plants densely hairy; leaf-bearing branches solitary at each node; leaves firmly chartaceous, curling down along margins; flowers subtended by tufts of subflabellate fimbriate bracts; male flowers solitary or accompanied by a female flower in cymules 40. Phyllanthus brevipes
b. Plants entirely glabrous; leaf-bearing branches often 2 or 3 at each node; leaves membranous, flat along margins; flowers subtended by entire bracts; male flowers paired or up to 10- flowered in each cymule 45. Phyllanthus leschenaultii


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